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Postgraduate Study

Course closed:

History of Art and Architecture is no longer accepting new applications.

The MPhil in History of Art & Architecture is taught through a combination of research seminars, skills training, and supervised the individual study.

You will attend two seminar-based courses on methodology and salient critical and theoretical issues, one core course in the Michaelmas (Autumn) term and at least one course in Lent (Spring) term, depending on the length and availability of Lent courses on offer in any given year. In both terms, students are expected to engage with preparatory readings and prepare presentations and discussions through independent reading and study. The final Easter (Summer) term is devoted to researching and writing the dissertation.

In addition, you will attend the Department's weekly research seminars, the Department's fortnightly medieval seminars and other lectures and seminars in the Department and elsewhere in the University. You will also take training sessions on research skills.

You will meet your supervisor frequently, about once a fortnight in term time, as you prepare your work for examination.

You will submit two essays of 6,000 words at the end of the Michaelmas and Lent term, making up 40% of your mark. These need not relate to the themes of the taught courses but may be directed towards your personal research interests. The other 60% will come from your 15,000-word dissertation at the end of the Easter term.

Please note that this is a research degree with taught methodological elements, not a conversion course for students whose first degree lies in another subject.

The educational aims of the programme are as follows:

Provide teaching and learning to postgraduate students in the history of art and architecture in a range of fields linked to the research interests of the staff Provide high-calibre students with training in relevant research skills and to offer excellent specialist supervision of their individual research in these fields Provide a stimulating environment in which students can reach their full intellectual potential Help students develop a wide range of intellectual abilities and skills, which will enable them to make a significant contribution in their chosen careers and walks of life, including academic teaching and research

On completion of the MPhil, students should have:

made the transition in learning style and pace from undergraduate to postgraduate level; acquired the necessary research skills in the use of bibliographical, archival and museum resources as relevant to their field of study; gained practice in the use of the languages and archival skills relevant to their chosen research area; gained confidence in the choice and use of different methodological approaches and theoretical perspectives; refined their critical skills in the examination, recording and analysis of works of art and/or architecture, especially at first hand (through travel and fieldwork if appropriate); gained experience in an oral and written presentation, and in a sustained piece of research in the form of a dissertation of not more than 15,000 words; and acquired the proficiency needed to present in writing a coherent and sustained piece of academic research.

The course consists of research seminars, skills training, and supervised individual study. The syllabus is as follows:

Attendance at two selected seminar courses in specialised areas of research, one in the Michaelmas (autumn) term and one in the Lent (spring) term. Attendance at the department's research seminars. Attendance at classes in skills training and career development. Frequent individual consultation with the candidate's supervisor, who will guide the candidate's choice of topics and preparation of individual written work for essays, presentations and dissertation. The seminar courses run over two terms (Michaelmas and Lent), with a different emphasis in each term. The seminars are led by faculty members and include presentations by MPhil students and other research students.

A taught course relevant to your research topic offered at the MPhil level by another university department (eg Classics, English, History, Modern and Medieval Languages) may be undertaken in addition to one of the two taught courses, with the approval of your supervisor and the Degree Committee of the Faculty of Architecture and History of Art. This needs to be discussed and arranged at the start of the Michaelmas term.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the programme, students will have acquired the type of research training required to carry on to the PhD, or, if the MPhil is conceived as a standalone degree, will have acquired the skills to specialise and enhance their professional prospects.


To continue to read for the PhD following the MPhil in History of Art & Architecture students must achieve an overall total score of at least 70%. Continuation is also subject to the approval of the proposed research proposal, and the availability and willingness of an appropriate supervisor.

Open Days

The Postgraduate Virtual Open Days will be running between 31 October and 13 November. It’s a great opportunity to ask questions to admissions staff and academics, explore the Colleges virtually, and to find out more about courses, the application process and funding opportunities. Visit the Postgraduate Open Day page for more details.

Key Information

9 months full-time

Master of Philosophy

Department of History of Art

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Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 15, 2022
Application deadline
May 16, 2023
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2023

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Course Funding Deadline
Jan. 5, 2023
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 12, 2022

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2023, Lent 2024 and Easter 2024.

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